home | archives | bio | stories | poetry | links | guestbook | message board
previous | stories index | next

Of Dreams and Nightmares

Sometimes hoping for a dream to come true is worse than never dreaming at all. And sometimes trying to realize a dream brings about a nightmare. In a perfect world all of our dreams would come true. In theDreamworld we would all find happiness. But we don't live in a perfect world.

The boy writes one last line on the page before his pen stops and falls heavily from his fingers. He raises a battered face away from the page and moves his gaze across the desk, past the baseball signed by Mark McGuire and past the Pinewood Derby car, stopping to stare briefly at the framed picture in the corner. In the picture he stands close to another boy of his age, both in Junior League Baseball outfits with an arm over each other's shoulder and laughing smiles on their faces. He struggles to keep his eyes on the picture, holding bruised lids open in thin slits, pale blue crescents falling into wells of darkness. Slowly his head descends onto bruised arms that lay heavily on the desk, his dark hair falling forward over the pen and the white page, obscuring all but the first few lines of the recently completed note.

I'm sorry. I didn't want things to be this way, but they are, and I'm not strong enough to take all of this. I can't stand alone against the whole world. I just can't.

A heavy breath, like a sigh, passes from his small frame as he drifts into sleep, his bandaged left arm shifting slightly and knocking over the orange prescription bottle, releasing a small blue cascade of pills onto the smooth mahogany of the desk. One small blue pill, rolling precariously on edge, passes across the few inches from its bottle to the edge of the desk and falls off, the light from the nearby window glinting off its coated surface as it plunges into the black metal wastebasket on the floor below. Inside the wastebasket the pill bounces off one crudely scribbled note and onto another.

The first note is scrawled hastily, almost violently, in thick black marker.

Nobody wants your kind in our school! Your life is going to be the hell you deserve!
Keep coming back and we'll keep beating you til you're dead!

The second note, touched by the rebounding small blue pill, sits crumpled loosely, bunched with a dozen other pages. This note is written in a flowing script.

God hates fags. Homosexuality is a sin, and you will burn in hell for your sacrilege.
Righteous are the sons of God who will persecute the sinners. And we shall persecute you. Your abomination will not be tolerated in the presence of God's children.

Falling from the crumpled note, the blue pill slides down across a brief letter that leans between the side of the wastebasket and a Pepsi can stuck to a Snickers wrapper.

Mike -

I got your letter. I don't know what to say, man. I'm shocked. I really don't know how to deal with this, and I'm not sure what to tell you. I don't hate you. I know that much. We've been friends too long for me to be like that. I just don't understand.
You have to realize, I'm not like you. I love you like a brother and all, but that's it. I'm sorry. I need to be away from you for a while to figure this out.
By the way, I think some of the guys might have seen your letter while I was reading it at lunch. I'm sorry, but I didn't know it would be so important.


The blue pill, finally falling onto its side upon a few pages at the bottom of the wastebasket, rests upon a long letter written by the same hand as the one on the desk.

Tommy -

I wish I didn't have to do this in a letter, but I've been trying to tell you for three months and I just get too scared. I have something I need to tell you, and I'm afraid you'll hate me. Please don't hate me. I don't know what I'd do without you.
We've been friends just about all our lives, and you know me better than anybody. But I've hid a couple of things from you. I've lied to you to keep a secret, and it's tearing me up inside. I can't lie to you, Tommy. It's not right.
I'm gay. And I love you.
Please don't hate me. I couldn't live with that. I'm sorry I lied to you, but I just didn't know what you'd think. I've tried to stop feeling this way, but I can't. I just need

The rest of the letter, obscured by the crumpled notes and wadded pages above, waits to reveal its secrets to those who would soon desperately seek for answers.

"Mike, I'm home," came a woman's voice from the bottom of the stairwell. "Your school called today. We need to talk about some things. … Mike? … Mike?"


previous | stories index | next
home | archives | bio | stories | poetry | links
| guestbook | message board

Of Dreams and Nightmares, by Paul Cales, © November 2001